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September 27, 2018 Council Meeting Minutes

SEPTEMBER 27, 2018  6:00 P.M.


Roger D. Yoder Council Room

345 N. Morton Street

Shipshewana, IN  46565


PRESENT:  Council;  Elmer J. Mast, J. Mike Wilcher, Lynn M. Bontrager, Tad T. Hite, C. Arlene Lazzaro.  Staff; Kurt R. Bachman, Brandon Hooley, Tom M. Fitch II, Gregory T. Guerrettaz, Kurt R. Bachman.  Public; Marvin Yoder.


Council President, E. Mast called the meeting to order, noted that all Council Members were present, and welcomed the public.   Agendas were available.


INVOCATION & PLEDGE:   C.A. Lazzaro gave the invocation and L. Bontrager led the pledge.




Council President, E. Mast officially opened the public hearing portion of the meeting.  R. Downey reported that Form #1’s and Form #3 were in Council Members paperwork.  Financial Consultant, G. Guerrettaz referred the public and Council Members to the TV where he went to the Gateway website on the public portal and explained that the general public can go to this site to review the Form #3, you can also see the 2018 Certified Budget at this website.  The Public Hearing for the 2019 Budget is this evening and final adoption will take place at the October 11th Council meeting.  G. Guerrettaz reminded everyone that each Fund listed is a separate bucket, for example you can’t take money from the CCD Fund and move it to the Fire Fund.  G. Guerrettaz pointed out the excess levy appeal for the MEC annexation and noted that the Town’s overall assessed value has gone up.  By not making the MEC a TIF area it has helped the overall budget, unless something changes with the increase in the assessed value for the Town the Town Tax rate should go down.   Also, on gateway is a private portion available to each municipality where the information is entered into gateway for the states’ review.  When we put together the budget we don’t just look at what was spent last year and raise the budget, we receive information from the department heads, realign expenses, and check all our revenue sources.  When you look at the proposed tax rates on Form #3 they are higher because we put in a lower assessed value to be sure that we advertise a high enough tax rate.  A lot of detailed work goes into putting together the budget.   E. Mast noted that at this time the Town is in good shape.  G. Guerrettaz pointed out the importance of staying on top of things so that the Town can sustain operation in both the good and bad times.  E. Mast asked for input from the public.  There being no public input E. Mast closed the Public Hearing portion of the meeting.


MOTION:  C.A. Lazzaro made a motion to accept the agenda with flexibility.  L. Bontrager seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


POLICE RESERVE OFFICER APPOINTMENT:  Town Marshal T. Fitch II reported that last year Mack Grobis had served as a Reserve Officer for the Town.  Mack attended Lakeland High school and is from LaGrange.  We had to let a Reserve Officer go because he lives in Michigan and I learned from the Academy that we cannot have a person serve as a Reserve Officer that lives out of state.  Mack is willing to fill this vacancy and is already trained.  Discussion followed.


MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion to approve Mack Grobis as a Police Reserve Officer for the Town of Shipshewana.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:  T. Fitch II reported that he has been receiving complaints from property owners on CR 850 because people are parking in their yards to use the Pumpkinvine Trail.  I believe you also received a letter from a tourist that was disappointed because there was not parking available at the end of the trial on CR 850.  R. Downey reported that copies of the September 20th letter from Rosalie Wilkey of Cincinnati, OH was in the Council Members packets.  T. Fitch II reported that property owners are frustrated, and I was told by the prosecutor that this is a County issue even though the trail is a linear park of the Town.  Discussion followed regarding posting no parking signs and having vehicles towed.  C.A. Lazzaro noted that when she lived near the flea market she learned that you must have signs posted before you have a vehicle towed or you will not win in court.  It was pointed out that technically the property being parked on, although cared for by the property owner would be considered County right-of-way.  K. Bachman recommended that the property owners work with the County to get permission to post no parking signs in the County right-of-way.  Discussion followed.  R. Downey reported that the Town does have small signs posted that direct people to parking lots here in Town that are designed as Pumpkinvine Trail parking areas.    T. Fitch II reported that a lot of people park at the school.  K. Backman noted that you need to buy or take land for a parking lot.  Discussion followed.  J.M. Wilcher asked what happened to getting the trail into town.  It was noted that negotiations continue with property owners to acquire land to bring the trail into Town.  K. Bachman pointed out that you do have a 501 C-3 that has the means with the authority to purchase property that would not have the same restrictions as the Town.  Discussion followed.  L. Bontrager pointed out that in another four weeks the weather will change, and no one will be riding the trail.  Discussion followed.


MOTION:  C.A. Lazzaro made a motion to purchase  “No Parking Signs” for two property owners on CR 850 from the Food & Beverage Tax Fund as a temporary measure until the trail is extended.  T. Hite felt that property owners should buy their own signs.  Discussion followed.  Motion died due to a lack of a second.


  1. Bachman pointed out that the Pumpkinvine Trail is a Town Asset outside of the Town Corporate limits in the County of LaGrange. The Town cannot authorize the property owners to put up No Parking Signs in the County right-of-way. Recommending that the property owners put up No Parking Signs is a show of good faith, but the property owners will have to go to the County to get permission to put the signs in the County right-of-way.  Discussion followed.  L. Bontrager asked what happened to painting color coded markers every tenth of a mile so in the case of an emergency the individual could be more easily located on the trail.  I thought the Park Board approved marking the trail every tenth of a mile.  Discussion followed.


  1. Fitch reported that K-9 Officer Nicholas Byroad lost 40% of his thumb during K-9 training, it was not our dog. Nick was wearing a bite suit, but the dog went up the sleeve. N. Byroad was off work for three days, but his medical expenses will be covered by workers comp.  T. Fitch II asked why N. Byroad had to use three sick days when this is a worker’s comp claim.  R. Downey reported that before workers comp covers time off you have to be off work for a full week, since it was only three days sick time had to be used.  Had Nick been off over seven days then workers comp will go back and pick up the first week.  K. Bachman pointed out that what was done, using the sick time, is procedurally correct.  Discussion followed.  E. Mast noted that is how it works, I have seen people with back injuries out of work for a week with no pay.  J.M. Wilcher pointed out it was the same way when I worked at Syndicate.  K. Bachman asked T. Fitch II if he wanted the Council to consider reimbursing the three sick days used.  T. Fitch II reported that N. Byroad still has five sick days left but I know other agencies that fill in the gap.  Discussion followed.


FIRE TRUCK EQUIPMENT PAYMENT APPROVAL:  R. Downey reported that the Council had approved payment of equipment for the new Fire Truck totaling $50,000.00 with $20,000.00 being paid from the Fire Gift Fund and $30,000.00 being paid from the Public Safety LOIT Fund.  The hope was that the Townships would pick up the balance of the equipment request.  Newbury Township agreed to pick up their portion, but Van Buren Township did not participate, and their amount was $12,000.00 plus.  I have received an invoice from Hoosier Fire that I cannot pay in full without the Council’s approval because it goes over the $50,000.00 that was approved and I expect other invoices to come in.  One thing that was not taken into consideration when the quotes were submitted was shipping so I am requesting permission to pay up to $6,500.00 for fire truck equipment from the Town Fire Cum Fund, we have an appropriation in place for the purchase of fire equipment.  Discussion followed.


MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion to approve the purchase of Fire Truck Equipment in the amount of $6,500.00 to be paid from the Fire Cum Fund.  C.A. Lazzaro seconded the motion.  AYES:  L. Bontrager, C.A. Lazzaro, J.M. Wilcher, E. Mast.  NAYS: – 0 – ABSTENTIONS:  T. Hite.  Motion carried.


  1. Downey referred Council Members to their paperwork for a preliminary report from the Shipshewana Fire Department Benefit Auction that was put on by the community on September 7th and noted that this is not the final number as all the bills and promised donations have not come in yet. It is my understanding that once all bills have been paid a donation will be made to the Fire Department and the proceeds are to be used to purchase another fire truck. Final results from the Auction are expected to be announced at the Fire Department Ham & Bean Supper that will be held on October 6th at the Fire Station from 4 – 8 p.m.


APPROPRIATION TRANSFER ORDINANCE:  R. Downey reported that this Ordinance is moving the right to spend money from one appropriation to another.  Discussion followed.


President E. Mast introduced AN ORDINANCE TRANSFERRING MONIES IN THE GENERAL, MVH, PARK, FOOD & BEVERAGE, CUM FIRE AND FIRE FUNDS.  Council Member L. Bontrager made a motion, seconded by Council Member J.M. Wilcher, that said Ordinance be numbered and placed on first reading, and that the same be read in full at this time.  Motion carried.


Said Ordinance having been designated as “II-F-1-d(565)” and having been read in full, and the provisions of the same having been considered by the Council, Council Member L. Bontrager made a motion, seconded by Council Member J.M. Wilcher, that any requirements for a second or third reading be waived and that all rules of the Council, which unless suspended, might prevent the final passage and adoption of “II-F-1-d(565)” at this meeting, be suspended and that said Ordinance be placed on its final passage  Motion carried.


“II-F-1-d(565)” having been read in full was then placed upon its final passage, and on call of the roll the vote for the adoption of said Ordinance was as follows:


AYES:    Lynn M. Bontrager, J. Mike Wilcher, C. Arlene Lazzaro, Tad T. Hite, Elmer J. Mast.

NAYS:  – 0 –


There being present at said meeting at least two-thirds of the members elect of the Town council and “II-F-1-d(565)” having been passed after unanimous suspension of the rules, the President thereupon declared said Ordinance to have duly passed and adopted.


  1. Downey reported that there has been discussion regarding the establishment of a Fire Territory to meet the Fire Department’s needs in the future and to obtain sustainability for the Fire Department as equipment and other costs continue to go up. Town Manager, Bob Shanahan had asked if we could get the process started to establish a Fire Territory yet this year.  Since G. Guerrettaz is here this evening I asked him if it was possible to start the process of putting together the numbers with the possibility of the Territory being in place for the 2020 Budget and Greg pointed out if we meet all the deadlines it could be possible.  G. Guerrettaz reported that we will need to get the process started to meet the deadlines.  I would like to present two options an analysis that includes the Town, Van Buren and Newbury Townships and then an option with just the Town and Newbury Township.  We put together a similar proposal for the Town about five or six years ago.  R. Downey reported that we would not ask the Townships to help pay for this report but would pay for it from the Town General and CEDIT Funds, the estimated amount is $5,000.00.  Discussion followed.  J.M. Wilcher passed out papers to Council Members from the 2018 and the proposed 2019 Fire Contracts and noted that #10 was changed from last year regarding allocation of unforeseen expenses and pointed out that this change should have been presented to the Townships not just written in the contract.  This is a service agreement the Townships do not own the Fire Department, should they be required to share in the cost of equipment  repair for the department.  Discussion followed.  Discussion turned back to the establishment of a Fire Territory.  E. Mast pointed out that once a Fire Territory is established Fire Contracts will not be necessary.  R. Downey reported that those being served by the Fire Department will be paying the same tax rate for their fire services once a territory is established and more revenue should be available for the Fire Department.   Discussion followed regarding informational meetings that had been presented on establishing Fire Territories by Umbaugh at the request of the Fire Chief.  G. Guerrettaz pointed out that he has helped set up a number of Fire Territories.  Discussion followed.


MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion authorizing Financial Solutions Group to move forward with the study for the establishment of a Fire Territory at a cost not to exceed of $5,000.00.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  AYES:  L. Bontrager, T. Hite, C.A. Lazzaro, E. Mast.  NAYS: – 0 –  ABSENTIONS:  J. Mike Wilcher.  Motion carried.


2019 COMMUNITY CROSSINGS GRANT PROJECTS UPDATE:  R. Downey reported that the application for 2019 Community Crossings Grant projects was submitted on Tuesday, September 25th.  The submission included E. Middlebury Street to Talmadge Street and S. Morton Street from Middlebury Street to the Flea Market.  Grant Award announcements are expected in late October or early November.  The Town Match for the Middlebury Street project will come from TIF Funds and S. Morton Street will come from our MVH Fund.  We don’t know if both projects will be awarded but we plan on applying again in January in hopes of a grant to help us complete E. Middlebury Street to the Town Corporate limits.  Discussion followed.


ATTORNEY REPORT:  K. Bachman had nothing further to report.


  1. Mast asked if Council Members had anything further to bring before the Council. T. Hite asked why the stop light at Farver Street was still on when Farver Street is closed, can’t we just shut it off. E. Mast pointed out that the light is on SR 5 and controlled by INDOT.  Discussion followed.


  1. Hite reported that the Town website is out of date, I have removed the Car Museum link from the site and will be working on making other changes to update the Town site. E. Mast encouraged Council Members to contact T. Hite regarding changes to the Town website.


  1. Mast noted that there are still some Hudson Cars that were sold at the Car Auction on August 4th sitting in the Car Museum building. The Town must pay a monthly utility fee as long as we are using the space. Can we send notice to the Auctioneer that a storage fee will be charged going forward if those cars are not removed from the building?  K. Bachman responded probably a storage fee can be charged but I will have to review the Auction Agreement, it would be like a mechanics lien.  Discussion followed.  K. Bachman was asked to contact John Kruse, of Worldwide Auctioneers regarding storage of the cars.


FINANCIAL REPORT:  R. Downey reminded Council Members that adoption of the 2019 Budget will take place at the October 11th Council meeting and referred Council Members to their paperwork for a proposal from Peterson Concrete LLC for concrete work at the WWTP and on Harrison Street.  This work was approved by Town Manager Bob Shanahan and was completed yesterday.  The invoice for this work was submitted to my office today for payment and the checks had already been written for this meeting.  I am requesting permission to pay this invoice between Council meetings.   Discussion followed.


MOTION:  C.A. Lazzaro made a motion authorizing the Clerk-Treasurer to pay the invoice for concrete work at the WWTP and on Harrison Street between Council meetings to Peterson Concrete LLC in the amount of $1,985.00.  T. Hite seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


  1. Downey reported that the water heater in the Wolfe Community Building went out. We only have one rental this weekend and we have told them there is no hot water. We have only received one quote for the replacement of the water heater and we require two quotes.  We have requested a second quote to be received by Wednesday of next week.  I am requesting permission to move forward with the water heater repair once the second quote is received and to go with the low quote.  Discussion followed.


MOTION:  L. Bontrager made a motion authorizing the Clerk-Treasurer to approve the low quote for the replacement of a water heater in the Wolfe Community Building at an amount not to exceed of $1,000.00.  C.A. Lazzaro seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


  1. Downey reported that the street sweeper from the Military Surplus program was delivered on Tuesday this week. It is operational but still has some small leaks, our Street Superintendent, Rodger Owsley has had the truck out. At the September 13th  Town Council meeting approval was given to Phoenix Contractors to paint the South Water Tower at a cost of $53,093.11.  We received a revised contract that does not include the Town logo with a new price of $48,593.00 earlier this week because Town Manager, Bob Shanahan has been in negotiations with Blue Gate Holdings because they have expressed interest in putting their logo on the South Water Tower.  No official agreement was entered into prior to Bob leaving on vacation but considering the possibility of reaching an agreement with them he felt it was best not to put the Town logo on the South Water Tower.  Since the contract from Phoenix states that they want work to begin no later than September 29th   and the amount is lower than that previously approved by the Council, Council President E. Mast signed the revised contract earlier this week to keep this project moving forward.  Discussion followed.


  1. Downey reported that Council Members should have received two sets of Council minutes and requested a motion regarding the Council minutes.


MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion to approve the September 13, 2018 and the June 8, 2017 Council meeting minutes as written.  J.M. Wilcher seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


  1. Downey requested a motion to approve the Claims Register, there is no Adjustment Journal.


MOTION:  C.A. Lazzaro made a motion to approve the Claims Register as submitted.  L. Bontrager seconded the motion.  Motion carried.


  1. Mast asked if there was any further business to come before the Council. There being no further business E. Mast asked for a motion to adjourn.


MOTION:  T. Hite made a motion that the meeting be adjourned.  L. Bontrager seconded the motion.  Motion carried.



______________________________________                ________________________________________

Elmer J. Mast, Council President                                          Lynn M. Bontrager, Council Vice-President



______________________________________                ________________________________________

  1. Arlene Lazzaro, Council Member Tad T. Hite, Council Member



______________________________________                ________________________________________

Ruth Ann Downey, Clerk-Treasurer                                      J. Mike Wilcher, Council Member